Speed Reads

reading is fundamental

Studies show teens just aren't reading the way they once did


In this digital age, it's not surprising that new studies are showing a decline in reading by teenagers. And what a decline: Almost half of all 17-year-olds surveyed said they only read for pleasure once or twice a year, if at all, NPR reports.

The studies, compiled by Common Sense Media, do not say that kids are reading less because they spend more time on the internet, but Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer believes that's the case. "First of all, most children now have access to e-readers, or other smart electronic devices like phones and tablets," he said. "And they're spending time on that. Numerous reports show the increasing use of new technology platforms by kids. It just strikes me as extremely logical that that's a big factor."

Some students participating in the studies said that they enjoyed reading but were too involved in after-school activities or homework to pick up a book for fun. Steyer thinks that if a young person has reading role models, they'll be more likely to keep it up. "Kids with parents who read, who buy or take books out of the library for their kids, and who then set time aside in their kids' daily schedule for reading, tend to read the most," he said. --Catherine Garcia